‘Ruby Red’ Swiss chard, with its crinkled leaves and richly colored stems, is almost as much fun to draw as it is to eat. This year, instead of the traditional pot of New Year collards simmering on the stove, our first supper of 2012 was a chard and feta pie, incorporating ingredients from our winter garden. I love chard’s delicate spinach flavor and its prolific growing habit — plus, those lovely leaves are packed with Vitamins A, K, C and protein. And did I mention that fairies like it, as well?
This little drawing is colored pencil on acid-free vellum cardstock. Brilliant white with a smooth surface and a little more heft than drawing paper, premium cardstock makes a terrific sketching medium. Try it — you’ll be pleased.
Came across this older sketchbook page this morning… I’ll be on the lookout for oakleaf hydrangeas coming to life this month:
I rarely see oakleaf hydrangeas in our city. But its kissing cousin, the bigleaf hydrangea, blooms in pink and blue abundance all through our long, humid summers. No matter what your favorite hydrangea might be, it’s time to plant them this month if you live in Alabama.
Our local sketchers jumped the gun on Worldwide SketchCrawl Day (most cities will host the popular drawing marathon this Saturday). We had a very good reason for deviating from schedule: director Ivan Richardson recently invited us to sketch actors performing a full dress rehearsal of “The Lion in Winter.” Who can resist an opportunity to sketch 12th- Century costumes? Not me.
Ever since I read the story of how the iris became the fleur-de-lis (and it’s much more interesting than you’d expect, involving armies of rampaging Goths and a miraculous revelation in a swamp) I have been planning to make Louisiana iris the first in a series of “botanical notebook” paintings. The flower is painted in gouache, with the sketches and notes in dark graphite.
What favorite flower would you like to see included in the botanical notebook series? I’d love to hear your suggestions.
It wasn’t supposed to rain. But the first drops freckled the paved pathway as we skirted the Great Lawn, heading for an afternoon of botanical drawing deep within Bellingrath Gardens’ 63-acre horticultural wonderland. By the time we reached the serenity of the Oriental Garden, it was a full-fledged downpour.
So the field sketching trip to Bellingrath didn’t go exactly as planned, but it was a lovely experience anyway: instead of unlimited sketch time, a chance to chat with my wonderful students while we waited out the shower; instead of easy access to Bellingrath’s profusion of botanical specimens, this lovely grasshopper carapace. Okay, so it’s not a delicate bloom… but it really is an impressive insect. And lots of fun to draw, even in the rain.
And we managed to get in a little sketching, after the sun came out again: